By David Ramlagan, Training Coordinator, Aviation Security

Our clients, whether they are airport authorities or property/project managers, are people who we instinctively view in a high regard. We have all seen them around the job site from time to time and are very aware of when the “boss” is around.

Clients are viewed as leader figures who can answer our questions and provide support when needed. However, when disasters with tragic consequences occur and questions cannot be answered, our clients look to you to lead the way.

We have been inadvertently thrusted into the spotlight during this pandemic. Airport access points seem to be moving towards the front-of-house, where we must deal with more people and enforce stricter measures. You have been shifted out of your comfort zone and are working tirelessly to ensure this virus does not take any more lives.

Our clients are noticing your efforts. The spotlight is on you and your actions will be remembered for a very long time.

The definition of the word “Guardian” means to keep safe from harm or danger; protect; watch over. You might look at yourself as just another employee, but these are things that many pray for during times of distress. As a Guard, this definition also describes the natural qualities you carry, and an underlying reason why you chose the security field.

Protocols can fail during a crisis. But your ability to quickly adapt, keep the flow of information open, and restore a sense of order and safety reminds our clients of how vital you are. I have always considered each A.S.P. employee an everyday superhero, but your response to COVID-19 now has many others thinking the same.

Syed Alvi positioned at a new front-of-house location at Toronto Pearson

By Angus Wilson, Director, Aviation Services

A.S.P. is actively involved in all aspects of the operations at the sites in which we operate. We strongly believe that the readiness for emergency events comes through constant training.

This September, The Greater Sudbury Airport Authority held a full-scale emergency exercise that A.S.P. participated in to ensure the readiness of our team, should it be required in an event such as this one.

A.S.P. Security Supervisor Michelle Rieux controlling access to the crash site at Gate 29.

The exercise consisted of a simulated plane crash on the YSB grounds involving a passenger aircraft and a small private plane. It involved all relevant emergency responders from Greater Sudbury Police, EMS, Fire and all “hands on deck” for the YSB Emergency Teams.

The exercise was a great success and assisted us in further developing protocols and internal training that will improve the service and emergency readiness that is delivered at YSB and all other aerodromes in which we operate.

By Debbie Ciccotelli, Director, Strategic Initiative and Acting Manager, Human Resources

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – everywhere except at the airport. For most of us, the holiday season is a time of rejoicing and spending time with family and friends; however, it’s getting there that is often the most significant hassle.

To get to their holiday celebration, many people must endure the stress of holiday travel. With record high volumes expected at airports over the holiday travel season, combined with potentially bad weather, flight delays, long queues and wait times, as well as an increase in inexperienced travellers, our aviation employees must be prepared and committed to delivering exceptional customer service during this peak holiday season.

Today’s passengers have higher expectations for quality and service and Airport Authorities are committed to providing best-in-class passenger experiences. A.S.P. employees (both Security and Customer Service) are Airport Ambassadors – we are in the business to serve and protect – it is what we do! Our staff will be dealing with higher volumes of passengers and greater pressure during the holiday season and our goal is to make each passenger’s journey more relaxed and less stressful by going the extra mile, wherever possible.

As Airport Ambassadors, we need to exhibit a positive, feel good energy that is consistent with the mood and theme of the holiday season and to understand and empathize with the stress and anxiety that passengers are experiencing.

We can do this by:

  • Greeting everyone with a warm welcome and a smile.
  • Maintaining a positive and cheerful attitude.
  • Listening and understanding passenger questions/concerns.
  • Being empathetic, patient and considerate.
  • Directing, assisting and supporting passengers in a professional, friendly and competent manner.
  • Not taking passenger frustration personally – look at it as an opportunity to turn their day around.

So, get into the holiday spirit, keep a smile on your face and possess a servant’s heart.

By Mary Christidis, Manager, Customer Service

We had our first monthly TEA and TALK and it was a great success!

Every month, we will invite a small group of OSR agents to hear feedback over a cup a tea. Feedback is a critical component to a successful operation and I appreciate all the open dialogue.

Our first group from left to right.  Mark Acena, Marjan Askani, Ethilda Donkor, Abigail Danso, Vianna White, Mary Christidis, Gillian Byron. 

By Mina Khani, OSR Training Coordinator

We had the pleasure of a GTAA Terminal Service Representative (TSR) joining us in our class from Nov 18 – Nov 26.

TSR Anna Scida joined us for this training to oversee the information passed on during the training and provide feedback to improve the quality of the training. The picture below was taken during job-shadowing in Terminal 1.

From Right to Left: Anna Scida, Saleena Difranco, Nilanthi Vasanthan, Jerly James, Kiara Wealthy, Karim Mamdouh (sitting), and Mina Khani.

By Mary Christidis, Manager, Operational Support Representatives

On August 1st we launched our new Employee Recognition Program called CATCH A STAR. I am thrilled to announce our first winners. Congratulations to all our top 5 STARS.

By Mary Christidis, Manager, Operational Support Representatives

The OSR uniforms have finally arrived and we are now dressed for success!! It was such a pleasure and a lot of fun to finally issue these out to the team. Lots of smiles and thumbs up!

By Garinder Grewal, Service Delivery Manager - Aviation. From GTAA Health and Safety Summer Newsletter.

In last year’s Safety Climate Survey, you told us that you wanted to know more about what happens once a safety concern has been submitted. Will you receive any follow-up? Who reviews these reports? Who determines appropriate mitigations?

By Elizabeth Warwick, Acting Operations Manager - Calgary

The Calgary team held a town hall for all A.S.P. employees on the evening of September 11th, 2019 in the Silver Dart Room at YYC Calgary International Airport. Activities included introductions to the new Calgary Management Team, an airport trivia game with prizes awarded to the winning teams, as well as a presentation about A.S.P. from Angus Wilson, Director of Aviation Services.

The town hall was a great opportunity for the team to get together and spend time with our colleagues outside of our regular job duties. We received some great feedback from those in attendance and heard some insightful ideas to help improve our operation. We appreciate the time that everyone took out of their busy schedules to join us and look forward to seeing everyone again next time!

By David Ramlagan, Training Coordinator, Aviation Security

On Friday September 12th, 2019, two security breaches occurred at Munich and Hamburg airports in Germany within the span of half a day.

The Munich Airport incident: An unauthorized individual at Munich International Airport’s Terminal 1 went through an alarm-secured door on Friday morning, causing police to temporarily close off parts of the airport, and many departing flights to be delayed.

Flight delays and cancellations due to
a security breach

The Hamburg Airport incident: Authorities were forced to close security check-points at Hamburg International Airport on Friday evening, after a man was able to board a flight without a boarding pass. Five arriving flights were diverted to nearby airports, and eleven flights were cancelled (ICTS Bulletin 03.2019).

Toronto Pearson Airport had a similar incident in 2006. When an intruder cannot be found, planes must remain on the ground until the airport is deemed safe. This can result in a large number of delayed and cancelled flights, which can translate into millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Guarding an access control point requires the same attention as driving – avoid distractions! Car accidents occur when you least expect it. The same goes for security breaches. You could be attentive for majority of your shift but the breach may occur in the time that you were distracted. Remember these incidents the next time you are tempted with distractions on the job and remember to always stay alert!